Muhlenberg County cancels tourism events

In Central City, there are concerns about the community being a super-spreader of the delta variant following the death of local resident Brent Yonts, a former state representative, from COVID-19.

Kentucky towns that depend on tourism revenue from small museums and festivals are being hit again by the recent surge of COVID-19. As a result, one Muhlenberg County town just canceled tourism events for the rest of the year

The Muhlenberg Music Museum features memorabilia of rock & roll pioneers, the Everly Brothers, Phil who died in 2014, and Don who died Saturday.

That museum and the adjacent Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum are still open with sanitizing, masking, and social distancing. 

But Central City Tourism Commission Executive Director Freddie Mayes said the annual Cruise-In car and music show scheduled for Sept. 3 and 4 that draws thousands of people has been canceled.

“We had a recent death in our community that’s gotten everybody really concerned,” Mayes said. “Brent Yonts, our long-time representative, passed away last week, complications from COVID. So the idea was the city is really concerned about being a potential super-spreader of this delta variant.”

The city also cancelled the final event of the season, the ‘90s Night concert and dance party at the Lu-Ray Amphitheater that was scheduled for Sept. 17.

Mayes said local officials decided to avoid hosting possible “super spreader” events.  

“The concerts might have been doable, in that we could spread out in Lu-Ray Park and keep people a little more distanced and safe,” said Mayes. “But our festival downtown, the car show, is elbow-to-elbow, thousands of people.”

Muhlenberg County and virtually all the rest of Kentucky’s 120 counties are now in the red zone, with critically high levels of COVID-19 spread. 

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This story first ran on WKYU, the public radio station at Western Kentucky University.

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